It is a well-known fact that moving to the Cayman Islands commands higher value and steeper requirements as compared to many other countries in the Caribbean or elsewhere that offer residency and citizenship by investment programs – more commonly known as “golden visas.”
In the same breath, it is also widely accepted that Cayman is the “gold standard” in terms of lifestyle, accessibility, stability, and financial convenience for those seeking to relocate their homes and businesses to another country.
Over the last 10 years, revenues from Cayman’s residency by investment program has reportedly contributed almost half a billion dollars to the nation’s economy.
And with new limits being imposed in some of Europe’s most popular golden visa countries, the Cayman Islands is being eyed as one of the most attractive alternative destinations for the ultra-premium market of immigrant investors.
Renewed interest in investment immigration
According to Mansion Global, the market for investment immigration began to intensify over the last decade, particularly after the financial crisis of 2008, when high-net-worth individuals began seeking better options for “easier global mobility, volatility management and investment diversification.”
Not surprisingly and for much the same reasons, a surge of renewed interest in residency and citizenship by investment programs has been observed recently in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Technically, because it is a British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands does not offer citizenship by investment in the manner that it is made available in other countries. Instead, the Cayman government offers four different residency programs that can be availed through direct investments in either business or real estate.
Historically, the more popular options for residency have been those that involve property investments: the Certificate of Permanent Residency for Persons of Independent Means (requires USD $2.4-million in developed real estate, grants lifetime residency, provides eligibility to apply for UK citizenship and passport after five years), and the Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means(requires USD $1.2-million in developed real estate and other local investments, grants 25 years residency).
Much has been said about the unique advantages the Cayman Islands has to offer, such as tax neutrality, a stable economy and governance, absence of restrictions on foreign ownership of land and low annual residency requirements, to name a few.
On top of these perks, Cayman’s residency by investment applicants also enjoy greater freedom of choice as they are not obliged to invest solely in government-endorsed properties, but are allowed to purchase any developed real estate on the market as long as they meet the program’s minimum requirements.
(In the new normal, overseas buyers who are unable to personally inspect properties due to travel restrictions can conveniently avail of virtual tours by working with a professional real estate agent, as well as gain easy access to a comprehensive list of available properties via CIREBA’s Multiple Listing Service.)
Unparalleled growth for real estate and allied industries
The sustained interest in Cayman’s residency by investment program has bolstered unparalleled activity in the real estate sector and its allied industries, spurring a dynamic and competitive demand for luxury homes, exclusive enclaves, and branded buildings that meet the requirements of high-value investors who wish to share in Cayman’s excellent quality of life as long-term visitors or permanent residents by choice.
Whether they are acquired as long-term residences or vacation homes, revenues from stamp duty on property sales alone have contributed as much as$76-million to the Cayman economy in 2019.
The following year, despite the global impacts of COVID-19, real estate sales still managed to raise $60.5-million in revenue and helped keep the country’s economy afloat amidst the heavy financial toll caused by the lockdown on travel and tourism.
While residency and citizenship by investment programs have generally been sensitive matters that could attract strongly opposing views in any host country, the Global Investor Immigration Council affirms that independent studies have shown “a wealth of benefits” to countries that plan and implement their investor immigration programs effectively.
Aside from the direct gains derived from financial contributions to the economy, the GIIC also cited favorable impacts on job creation and retention, raising new capital for local businesses and enterprises, building stronger business connections with other countries, and attracting human capital in the person of highly skilled, highly successful persons of independent means who usually comprise the market for investor immigration programs.
If you need more information about Cayman’s residency by investment program or wish to inquire about available properties that meet the residency program requirements, the ERA Cayman Islands team would be happy to assist you.